Russia is about to cut off Finland’s natural gas

Finnish state gas company Jassum said in a statement on Friday that Russian gas will stop flowing to Finland at 7 a.m. local time. Poland and Bulgaria It was cut in late April because they had not made payments in Russian currency – a move EU leaders at the time called “blackmail” by Moscow.

“It is very unfortunate that the supply of natural gas under our supply contract will now be stopped,” Gazum CEO Mika Weljanin said, adding that the company was “carefully preparing for this situation.”

Earlier this week, Gazom said he was preparing for Russia to turn the taps off after it refused to meet President Vladimir Putin’s demand that “unfriendly” countries Pay for gas in rubles, not in euros or dollars stipulated in their contracts.

Finland formally announced its intention to join NATO on Sunday, abandoning decades of neutrality and ignoring Russian threats of possible retaliation in a bid to bolster its security after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Russian gas giant Gazprom did not immediately respond to CNN Business when asked for comment.

Finland It relied on Russia for nearly 68% of its natural gas consumption in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.

But Russia’s gas exports account for just 3% of the northern country’s total energy mix – which includes energy generated from biofuels and nuclear sources – according to data from Eurostat and the European Network of Gas Transmission System Operators.

Weljanin said Gazom “will be able to supply everyone.” [of its] Gas customers in the coming months “provided there are no outages in the gas transmission network, but added that the winter will be “difficult”.

Gasum’s vice president, Olga Vaisanen, told CNN on Friday that Finland also receives gas through its connection to the Baltic region via Estonia. The pipeline connects the Finnish gas transmission network with Estonia’s network, and allows it to rely on underground storage in Latvia.

Gazprom Tell customers That they must open two accounts with Gazprombank – one in euros and the second in rubles, through which gas payments will be made.

Since then, EU officials, national governments and energy companies have been scrambling to see if the new payment mechanism conflicts with sanctions against Russia.

Still there a lot of confusion. Some energy giants in Europe have started the process of opening new accounts. Italian energy giant where are you (H)On Tuesday, it said it planned to open two accounts with Gazprombank, one in euros and one in rubles.

But the European Commission insists that directives it issued last week prohibit buyers from opening an account in rubles. Such a move would breach sanctions, European Commission spokesman Eric Mammer said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“Anything beyond opening an account in the contract currency with Gazprombank and paying to that account, and then making a statement saying you … finished paying, conflicts with penalties,” he said.

Some countries urgently need a solution as the bills are due. Germany, the largest economy in the bloc, Relies heavily on Russian gas to power its homes and industries, although it managed to reduce Russia’s share of its imports to 35% from 55% before the start of the war.

Earlier this week, the European Union said it would spend 210 billion euros ($222 billion) to get rid of Russian oil and gas.

that it REPowerEU plan It aims to reduce its consumption of Russian gas by 66% before the end of this year – and break its dependence completely before 2027 – by saving energy, finding alternative sources and accelerating the transition to renewables.

Robert North contributed reporting.

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